The city of Annapolis has asked Uber Technologies to stop operations until paperwork and applications to operate as a taxicab have been filed and approved.
The San Francisco-based company that connects customers to drivers through smartphone applications has been operating in Annapolis since May, according to the Capital Gazette.
“I am happy to know there is another means of transportation that will help increase our city’s mobility efforts, but I must also be diligent in insisting that they are regulated, just like our taxicabs, in an effort to keep our citizens and visitors safe,” Annapolis Mayor Pantelides said, according to a news release.
A letter sent to Uber Technologies on June 25 by Acting City Manager Brian Woodward says that city code defines a taxicab as a vehicle for hire that is designed to carry seven people or less, including the driver, and used to accept or solicit passengers for transportation between various points in the city.
Uber has failed to apply for and obtain a motor vehicle permit to continue operations as ordered by the Maryland Public Service Commission, the news release says.
Uber spokeswoman Taylor Bennett said Uber is a technology platform and not a taxicab, the Capital Gazette reports.
- Have you ever used Uber to get around Annapolis? Tell us in the comments section.
“Uber isn’t a taxi company any more than Maryland blue crab is a pelican,” Bennett said, according to the news outlet. “We look forward to educating city officials on our innovative technology solution and how we’re vastly different from taxi companies. . . . Restricting access to safe and reliable transportation options only hurts the city of Annapolis and the thousands of residents and visitors who rely on Uber to make a living and safely move around their city.”
In April, a judge classified Uber and other rideshare companies as “common carriers,” allowing the state to regulate the company in the same way taxi companies are regulated, Capital Gazette reports.
Uber has appealed the decision, but plans to work with the city for a solution.
“I know our taxicab companies have worked closely with the city to stay in compliance and fulfill the regulations required by city code, and we are requesting that Uber does the same,” Transportation Committee Chair and Ward One Alderman Joe Budge said, according to the news release. “I believe Uber has exciting innovations to offer the taxi industry.”